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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Kovsie student aims for the record books
2011-10-11

 

Potential Guinness World Record-holder, Hermann van Heerden
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

The Guinness World Record for the longest continuous wheelie in a wheelchair was achieved by Michael Miller of the United States, who covered a distance of 16,12 km on the rear wheels of his wheelchair on 8 August 2009.

On 11 October 2011, Hermann van Heerden, a second-year Kovsie student, will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the longest wheelie in a wheelchair in a stationary position. The 22-year-old disabled student from the University of the Free State (UFS) will manoeuvre his wheelchair so that the front wheels lift off the ground.

Hermann, who is studying for a BEd degree, was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. He has been in a wheelchair since he was a toddler.

Hermann’s Guinness World Record attempt forms part of the ten-year celebrations of the Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD) at the UFS. The unit was established in February 2001, with fifteen registered students, but currently supports 143 registered students. The USD focuses on promoting equity for students with disabilities, including access to courses, buildings, learning materials, residences, leisure and sports activities and the opportunity to succeed in such activities.

The unit supports students with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); mobility–impaired students (wheelchair users and amputees, as well as those suffering from cerebral palsy, muscle dystrophy, spina bifida and multiple sclerosis); visually-impaired students; hearing-impaired students, students suffering from “other” conditions (mental impairment ((schizophrenia)), epilepsy, panic disorder) and those with temporary impairments (broken hand).

Hermann said that he would like to use his record attempt as a means of raising money for the USD and welcomes sponsorships. “The USD has only been good to me ever since I registered at the UFS. Every time I had a question, they answered it. Every time I had a problem with a class, they resolved it. This year, the unit has its ten-year anniversary and I thought it was time for me to give back.”
 

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